Manager Antonio Conte hopes a lack of Champions League football can aid Chelsea’s Premier League title challenge this season.
The Blues finished 10th last term, a hugely disappointing campaign that cost Jose Mourinho his job in December and represented a lacklustre and unsuccessful title defence.
Guus Hiddink steadied the ship with a calm caretaker stint, allowing Chelsea to recruit Conte on completion of his Euro 2016 duties managing Italy.
Conte exploited Juventus’ lack of Champions League football to swipe the Serie A title in his first season managing the Italian giants in 2011-12, and is already eyeing a repeat in west London.
“Not playing in the Champions League could be an opportunity because I will be able to work more with my players,” Conte told the Evening Standard.
“If you ask me if I prefer this situation, I don’t because Chelsea must be in this competition. You do feel like you’re missing something when you’re not involved in the Champions League. It is a special competition and you want to play in it every year.
“But because we are not, I will have a whole week to train with my players and that gives me a chance to work with them more compared to Chelsea managers in previous seasons.”